Getting groped by drunk boy while you’re enjoying your night out is just as horrifying as it sounds. It has happened to me, my friends, your friends and will happen to many others unless we make this behavior completely unacceptable and raise men who behave otherwise. “Oh he was just drunk” will never be a valid excuse.
From the whole disgraceful Harvey incident streaming in the news of late, one note of positivity that stems from it is that women are talking. Not just chit-chatting in our private circles or spilling the tea to only those we confide in. Women are finally airing what has been plaguing them for decades and lo-and-behold, every woman and their mother pretty much has a harrowing account of how a man has sexually assaulted them/made unwanted advances towards them.
Why has it taken such a long time for these accounts to become public, especially about one of Hollywood’s most prolific sexual predators? One reason could be our attitude towards women who have been assaulted. Cry too loud and you’ll forever be known as the girl who cried wolf. There’s this underlying shame in being the victim of such a heinous crime. If you think about it, you have everything to lose and barely anything to gain from ousting a sexual predator. Look at the Brock Turner case. Instead of expressing empathy for the victim, many viewed her as the girl who ruined his swimming career. Maybe your attacker will be convicted by the court of law, or maybe you’ll be labeled as the girl who called rape. Women like Donna Karen would say you asked for it in the way you dressed, maybe even the way you flipped your hair. Others will claim that you were an irresponsible drunk. These victims blaming behaviors are the reason why those who have suffered harassment rarely speak about the incident.
Also, there’s a certain cool-girl persona most girls are expected to have. Something troubling you? Discreetly do away with it and don’t disrupt the ambiance. Be fun but not loud, sexy but not slutty, nice but not naive. There is a fine line that all girls struggle to walk on and when they stray too far from the status quo, there are social consequences.
The social stigma of crying wolf needs to be erased. It needs to be acceptable for women to “freak out” or “cause a scene” if she were harassed or unwittingly advanced on. It’s not fucking dramatic to freak out if you’ve been groped, catcalled or assaulted. It’s a human right to exist in a world where no matter what sex you are, you can reserve body for only those you care to share it with.
I’ve had my own harrowing experience of being groped from my vagina up to my ass. He assaulted me and ran away. Not as harrowing as rape, but unacceptable nonetheless. The crazy part was when I set out to scream and disgrace the guy who did it, people looked at me like I was the psycho one. Yes, making a scene in public is always an eyebrow raiser, but when someone yells fire we need to take action rather than ignore the alarm. If I experienced this underlying public shame of screaming at an attacker, then I can’t imagine how it feels to be a woman who has to recount her sexual assault story.
So as women and men, we need to foster acceptance on speaking up about harassment. This obviously doesn’t apply to the crazies that falsely accuse others of rape, but the next time you get groped or backed into a corner by a guy licking his lips – it’s OK to make a scene. Push back, tell people around you, tell that motherfucker to his/her face because
A. Real friends will protect you;
B. You may look “crazy” but it’s better than any other alternative.
Those who do such things need to be held accountable for their actions because let’s be honest, even if rapists can’t feel shame, they can feel miserable in a society where people publically make their life hell.
So be loud, be proud because what a time it is to be alive during the biggest exposé of sexual assault yet. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be shameful to be loud and alarmed, but it should be shameful to be a sexual predator.